Date: Wed, 20 Aug 1997 17:37:03 -0500
From: Dan Goodman dsgood[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]VISI.COM
Subject: Quebec English
Wed 20 Aug 1997 - The Gazette (Montreal) - News - A1 / FRONT
Quebec English elevated to dialect: The use of French words and meanings by
anglophones is an outgrowth of living in post-Bill 101 Quebec, says the
co-editor of Canada's first guide to proper English usage.
By: INGRID PERITZ
Photo: GAZETTE FILE PHOTO / Anglophone Quebecers often use the
word depanneur instead of corner store.
When it comes to the English language, Quebec anglophones are
They go to the depanneur and sip vin nouveau at vernissages, debate
the place of allophones among pure-wool Quebecers.
In short, we understand one another, but no one else does.
Now, however, Quebec English has been given the experts' stamp of
approval. Oxford University Press has just published Canada's first
guide to proper English usage, and Quebec English earns recognition as
a ``new Canadian regional dialect.''
Margery Fee, co-editor of the Guide to Canadian English Usage, said
Quebec English is an outgrowth of living in post-Bill 101 Quebec. As
more anglophones become bilingual and work in French, they're adopting
French words and meanings.
``Quebec anglophones are immersing themselves into the culture of
Quebec, and it's showing in their language,'' said Fee, an English
professor at the University of British Colombia.
Sometimes anglophones simply borrow French terms, such as souche,
poutine, CEGEP and CLSC. But they also have started to borrow the
meaning of French words and use them in English.
For example, an animator in the rest of the world is a cartoonist. In
French, an animateur is someone who organizes workshops or other
events. So some Quebec anglos say, ``I need an animator for tomorrow's
If someone has your ``dossier'' outside Quebec, you might fear you're
wanted by the police. But Quebec anglos often use the word dossier as
the French do, as ``file'' or ``case.''
They say: ``I'm handling the partition dossier today.''
Someone in Montreal might say, ``The mayor is worried about the global
issue of the population's security.'' Elsewhere, the mayor worries
about ``the over-all issue of public safety.''
``Anglophones use terms that other parts of the country would think of
as really bizarre,'' Fee said. ``But you have no problem with them in
Loans from the arts and culinary world are especially popular. Art
lovers in Montreal attend vernissages, while Torontonians go to
openings. Order an entree in a Montreal restaurant and you expect an
appetizer; leave the city, and an entree often means the main course.
Perhaps no word better symbolizes the English community's readiness to
adopt French words than ``anglophone.'' Twenty years ago, translators
frowned on its use, preferring ``English speaker.'' Yet today, the
word has been proudly seized by ``anglos'' as their own.
``With increasing contact between the two languages,'' the usage guide
says, ``more and more French words - particularly those connected to
provincial institutions, linguistic politics and local life - have
been assimilated into English, resulting in a new Canadian regional
dialect: Quebec English.''
No other province earned an entry in the guide.
Quebec English is also the focus of a three-year study by Pamela
Grant-Russell, an English-studies professor at the Universite de
Sherbrooke. She hopes to publish the first dictionary of Quebec
``The phenomenon has become much more evident in recent years,'' she
said, adding that part of the reason is the growing ``prestige'' of
``You're inclined to borrow from the language that has prestige,
authority and power.''
For the Oxford usage guide, Fee and co-editor Janice McAlpine culled
examples of Canadian English from 12 million words that appeared in
books and 650 million words from Canadian newspapers and magazines.
The examples of Quebec English come from The Gazette.
While anglo Quebecers have expressions to call their own, so do all
English Canadians. From hosers to loonies, sovereignists to tuques,
pogey to baby bonus to wind-chill factor, Canadians use a variety of
English distinct from British or American English.
As for the future of Quebec English, Fee said it will survive only as
long as the community does.
``What will happen in the next 20 years?'' she asked. ``All we know is
that it's a phenomenon now. Those (anglophones) who haven't left
Quebec are bilingual - and they're speaking Quebec English.''
dsgood[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]visi.com
Whatever you wish for me, may you have twice as much.